Sunday, 18 September 2016

Prop 56 - another anti-smoker money grab - if they get away with it!

'Healthism' (with anti-smoking as its main cause célèbre) is one of today's modern religions

It appears that every time there is a presidential election in the US, the anti-smoker industry tries to grab a slice of the action to enrich themselves and promote their agenda. This year is no exception but there is a new source they want to tap into this time too - vapers and e-cig users;

"The proposal that will be on the ballot in November as Proposition 56 , the California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016" (1)

The proposal is to increase cigarette tax by $2 Per Pack and to include e-cigarettes in the definition of 'other tobacco products' for purposes of taxation. Changing the definition in this way causes the $3.37 equivalent tax to apply to these products as well. 

The website lobbying for the tax grab (2). lists three main emotional propaganda appeals;
1, 'Protect children' - The old favourite emotive propaganda slogan - ie. The despicable and callous   exploitation of children. Works every time on their drones.
2. 'Fight cancer'. Why does this sound so insincere - such an empty gesture to get their way. Over  years, these people have diverted $billions AWAY from cancer care and research for cures - into their deep pockets and anti-smoker war chest, while cancers have increased to epidemic proportions.
3. 'If you don't smoke, you don't pay' - This is an appeal to the lowest of all human instincts - Do they really think that all non smokers are this bigoted, greedy, self-centered and so easily bought?

Stanton Glantz, he of anti-smoker arrogance personified, is almost certainly the lead driver of this money grab, as he was in the previous attempts - The last attempt (Prop 29) was rejected by the people in 2012. (3) 

Glantz Authored an article in 'The Conversation' - 'Big Tobacco aims its guns to kill California tobacco tax', (4) promoting his proposal (August 2016). The content is much the same as the ones before - same old, same old; propaganda, hyperbole, fear-mongering etc. It is just another attempt to take as much money from smokers as possible while trying to deceive the public into thinking it is not for his insidious cause, but 'for California', and it is only the Big Bad Tobacco companies who will pay. Hopefully the people have grown wise to Mr Glantz (his pedigree is well documented) and will treat this money grab attempt with the same contempt as the previous one. Anyone considering supporting this should be aware that when you vote to give some authority the power to take away the rights of someone else  you give them the right to take away your rights too. Be aware also of the law of physics (and fact of life) that every action has an equal and opposite reaction!

On 'The Conversation' webpage, Mr Glantz is described as  a 'Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco' and it further points out that "the University of California provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US." I suggest it is a good bet that Mr Glantz has a fair bit of clout when it comes to what content/comments are allowed in this publication.

When I first read the article I noticed, in the comments section, a long list of 'comment removed by moderator' entries. Apparently, one commentator, Daniel Hammond, in his inimitable style, had blitzed the section with several comments containing numerous facts etc that were not complementary to the tobacco CONTROL agenda. One or two were however still visible at that time.

I decided to make a comment in the almost certain belief that, as it would not support the proposal, it would also be removed to keep the true 'believers' ignorant of alternative points of view.  I also find it difficult to hide my contempt for anti-smoker nutters and commented under my pseudonym, which is against the website rules (Purported to prevent trolls etc., but in reality works as a form of censorship) viz;

This article is full of scary health and financial statistics and appeals to authority that are intended to reinforce learned anti-smoker propaganda and sway politicians to hand over the cash. Just about all of these are illusory, based NOT on real life but on assumptions and projections of those assumptions extrapolated from old statistical data. There are no bodies, just lots of figures on spreadsheets and computer projections derived therefrom.
This is the 'pigs might fly' hypothesis. If pigs could fly then statistically if only 1% of them fell out of the sky, the death toll of innocent bystanders, hit by falling pigs, would be massive and the cost of preventing these deaths would be substantial. All you have to do is to convince an unsuspecting public/politician that pigs might indeed fly and a lucrative income stream for the 'flying pig control' industry is ensured.
In fact this sort of statistical 'proof' is all the anti-smoker industry has to depend upon in order to claim that smoking is harmful (and plead for more funding). No other research using different methodology has supported the statistical correlations of the 1950's and repetitions of the same (eg. Prof Doll and others).
There ARE bodies however, and millions of them! Despite the reduction in smokers since the 1950's, cancers have increased manifold, and top of that list is lung cancer that has grown to become the biggest cancer killer. 80% of those new lung cancers are now diagnosed in NON smokers (ex and never smokers). When Glanz claims a reduction, he is using 'adjusted' statistics, but if we use the same 'adjusted' statistics in other parts of the world where smoking has NOT reduced or has even increased - the SAME sort of reduction is evident (eg. Russia).
The anti-smoker agenda has diverted much needed cash away from real research to find real causes and cures as well as the care and treatment of victims of these illnesses. It has stigmatised not just smokers but lung cancer itself and deceived many into believing that lung cancer and other illnesses such as emphysema can be prevented merely by quitting. This is false!

The anti-smoker industry is a major part of the problem of public ill health - NOT part of the solution.
I was wrong! My comment remained in situ, in full view, however the remaining comments from Daniel Hammond had gone, but one from Art Fertig, the editor (moderator) appeared,  justifying their removal; I added a reply to him;

Oh dear!! all comments that criticize anti-smoker propaganda have been  "removed by moderator."!!! I hope the lawmakers in Ca. are not so stupid to think that they were all removed  because of your 'community standards', but a means to stifle dissent and keep them in the dark about the REAL character of the average anti-smoker fanatic. (is this web page just a front for anti-smoker propaganda?)
I read one or two of the comments before they were removed (on the orders of Mr Glanz himself ? ) From what I could see the comments were relevant but tended to show anti-smoker rhetoric up for what it is and there was no robust rebuttal forthcoming from the anti-smoker community.
I could go on to expose the misinformation and absolute rubbish contained within this piece of 'Academic rigour, journalistic flair' myself, but I have no doubt that my comment will also be removed so I would be wasting my time. Suffice to point out that tobacco CONTROL has had its day and will soon be confined to history like the burning of witches at the stake, claims that masturbation makes you go blind and ugly women prohibitionists stating that 'lips that touch liquor will not touch mine'!
Ordinary people AND much of the political community have woken up to the damage and injury that the anti-smoker agenda has caused. Shame that the great state of California has been degraded and humiliated by anti-smoker nutters - It will take many years for it to recover on the world stage.
Art Fertig did not reply, but my comment did motivate a response from a Robert Molyneux, Citizen, the tax-grab-from-smokers supporter who claimed he had a Ph.D in Chemistry. His earlier comments were still visible. He did neither himself, nor his position/profession (if true) any favours, demonstrating the obnoxious mindset of the typical indoctrinated 'groupthink' anti-smoker.

The following are comments that I made in response to bobs comments. I have not included his comments here, you will need to go over to the article to read them if you feel the need. Some of his comments were removed but you can probably guess from my comments, the gist of what he had written. No doubt to the delight, spiced with relief of both Glantz and Molyneux, all of my comments apart from the very last one, added afterwards, were removed by moderator.  They are reproduced here for reference;

It is always sad to see someone like yourself, bob, so comprehensively brainwashed by the anti-smoker deception yet apparently of reasonable intelligence. There is plenty of information out there where you could use your intelligence and logic to understand the contradictions in anti-smoker rhetoric and 'science', yet for some reason you are unable to do so.
Your hatred of smokers is palpable - you cannot even refer to them other than as 'addicts'. This is a psychological defence mechanism to self justify inhumane or discriminatory treatment of others. Smokers have become non-persons, dehumanized in your modified thinking. In addition. almost every comment of yours is laced with emotion and hyperbole eg. - "Poisonous Weed"; 'Murderous Drug'; "Smokers and their Excretions"; "Tobacco companies flog their murderous crap.". These are symptoms of someone who has been indoctrinated into hatred by propaganda. We saw this same phenomenon in 1930's Germany. 
This is a personal problem that you need to address but you can only do so if you have the will power to break free from the propaganda chains that restrain you. This means looking at views, that oppose your own learned propaganda, with an open mind. Difficult maybe, but not impossible, many have already done so.
This may sound somewhat condescending but it is meant only to educate, raise awareness and hopefully get you (and others who have been similarly brainwashed) to THINK for yourself rather than being a victim of 'group-think'. Have you never wondered why your attitude and those of your cohorts need to be so 'angry'? Surely if the evidence is clear there would be no need for it?

Now here is a plea for help if ever I saw one; “Kin Free (note that The Conversation requires real names),” translated- “Quick Mr Moderator, remove Kin Free’s comments cos he is pointing out relevant facts that I don’t like”!
Take a look at the last attempt to squeeze money out of the Ca. taxpayer (Prop 29 in 2012- see frank davis; ) to fund their nefarious prohibition campaign, and impoverish vulnerable smokers. (Fortunately prop 29 was rejected by the people). Look at the response of ‘health advocates’; (5)
“Under pressure from health advocates, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday removed a controversial physician from a state health board after she appeared in an industry-funded ad against a tobacco tax hike on the June ballot.”
(one less opponent for this time). Note that the ‘controversial physician’, La Donna Porter, was removed merely because she was associated with a big bad tobacco company NOT for what she brought to the debate. She was added to a long list of  victims, summarily ‘bloodied’ by the anti-smoker mafia.
Do you think that having Dr or Prof in front of your name (even this is not a ‘given’) is some sort of antidote to brainwashing - as you credulously believe that not smoking guarantees good health? Profs may well be very clever in their limited field, but as a group, some are very naive and can fall easy victims of well crafted propaganda. Why do most anti-smokers have a phobia about smokers being cool - Is it some sort of inferiority complex?
Instead of “it’s complete nonsense” Maybe you can try to explain how so many intelligent Germans revered a psychopathic nut case and were so easily brainwashed into fearing that Jews represented such a threat to their health/race? Why did apparently intelligent people support, even encourage the gross treatment of Jews etc. in 1930’s Germany? Now tell me what the difference is with the present day cult following of psychopathic anti-smoker nutters and the similar treatment of smokers today (apart for degree) and why this will not result in the same inevitable failure!

Don’t you see how an increasing proportion of normal, decent people hold anti-smoker nutters in contempt?
 It's a "given" - really, is that the best you can do to explain the health realities today (my earlier comment went straight over your head)?  It was once a 'given' that masturbation made you go blind, and the Earth was the centre of the universe, but while the 'experts', for many years, were reluctant to admit it, these 'givens' were comprehensively de-bunked as knowledge expanded. Claiming that something is a 'given' or is 'complete nonsense' without explaining why, is a sure indication of dogma and has no place in any scientific discussion.
"Debating the proposition that inhaling carcinogenic tars does not cause harm to health is outside the scope of this article." Again, really? Nicely slipped in, but 'carcinogenic tars' is a propaganda slogan for goodness sake and, NO,  inhaling so-called tobacco 'tars' does NOT cause harm to health - proven time and again by 'hard' scientific research. (as opposed to 'soft' statistical epidemiological study, that, by its very nature, cannot do so)
When truth is no longer relevant and the anti-smoker agenda supersedes the original (apparently, health) reason for the campaign the result will be to the inevitable detriment of public health.
Discussing facts about the BENEFITS of smoking, for you I guess, is also outside of the scope of this article too? eg. Facts such as; Smokers are less likely to die after a stroke or heart attack and have better outcomes than non smokers! Facts such as; Quitting smoking INCREASES the risk of developing illnesses such as Diabetes, Ulcerative colitis or Gout. Facts such as; Smoking substantially increases cognitive function in the healthy brain and ameliorates debilitating symptoms in the not-so-healthy brain, improving / preventing illnesses such as Parkinson's.
For the record; smoking does NOT kill and passive smoke is effectively harmless, but to admit such would stop the anti-smoker bandwagon in its tracks. It would halt the very lucrative pecuniary advantage it has enjoyed since the deception was first perpetrated on an unsuspecting public. Fortunately, the power of anti-smoker propaganda is waning as people begin to identify the many anti-smoker contradictions.
Good of you to demonstrate how well you have been conned and infantilised by the anti-smoker deception, albeit in a poor attempt at sarcasm; Quote;"Shame about the yellow teeth and cancers. How’s your cough?" ( You missed off the; 'what big eyes, big teeth, green skin and horns' they are supposed have too'!) You have swallowed whole the anti-smoker defined, fallaciously manufactured, smoker stereotype, when a little thought might have prevented your embarrassment.
Many people naturally have varying shades of yellow teeth, the rest of us use the wonders of technology to prevent yellowing - toothpaste.
Cancers? - did you not see my earlier comment that points out 80% of lung cancers are now diagnosed in NON smokers? (How's the short term (learning) memory Bob - could be early signs of Alzheimer's! (prevented/delayed by smoking tobacco)). Or that all cancers are now at epidemic proportions! It is estimated that one in two persons under the age of 65 (in UK but probably the same in all developed countries) will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lifetimes; (David Kerr, professor of cancer medicine at the University of Oxford: April 2015) ( Bear in mind that smoking prevalence has more than halved since the 1940's).
Cough? Yet another manufactured fallacy! Do only smokers cough? A cough can indicate a number of major problems like lung cancer or COPD, but usually they are only minor such as a bout of cold or flu, or maybe asthma. Are you aware of the massive increase in asthma, particularly of child asthma, over the last few years - when smoking (and SHS exposure) reduced the most? or, Did you know that; “Despite there being an estimated 120 million NEVER smokers with COPD worldwide, these patients have been systematically excluded from drug trials, leading to a complete lack of knowledge about how they should be treated.” (Janice Leung and Don Sin from the University of British Columbia, Canada)
These are clear examples of why/how the anti-smoker industry is BAD for public health - particularly for NON smokers!
Read your study that finds smoking prevents Parkinson's again Bob; "...experts CANNOT be sure that it is the nicotine that is neuroprotective, but lead researcher Harvey Checkoway states, “MY OPINION ... is that nicotine is the clear candidate.” So, nicotine MAY be the issue, then again it may not (it could be some other constituent or combinations of constituents in tobacco smoke) - BUT - there is little  profit in naturally occurring organic tobacco leaf that is not already being harvested. You can be sure however, that tobacco research is NOT to confirm that tobacco smoking is the best means of harnessing the wonder drug - nicotine, but to find patentable substitutes that WILL be very profitable. There is, I believe,  much research ongoing to find a means of matching the effective delivery system of the simple cigarette for so many health benefits. Come now Bob, did you credulously think that the pharmaceutical industry has invested $billions in tobacco CONTROL, partnered the WHO, and funded 'scientific' research, through a sense of philanthropic or civic duty?

quote;"... the state imposes penalties on people who drive at excessive speed..."  Can you explain why no one is penalised in Formula 1, or say, the TT races in IOM, by the state? If this question is too subtle for you, I suggest you read John Stewart Mill's 'On Liberty' that outlines the generally accepted relationship between the state and individual freedoms (until anti smoker nutters were erroneously and tragically given the time of day)
 I know, I know, you're angry that I have challenged your indoctrination so you want to lash out with abusive language (a link throughout your comments). It's like telling an ISIL suicide bomber that there will not be 70 virgins waiting for him after he detonates his bomb in a shopping mall full of children - he KNOWS that they will be waiting for him after his glorious act.
I'm sure, after reading earlier comments, that you are capable of working it out for yourself, but I doubt you will want to. It will take a certain level courage to admit to yourself that you have been had by anti-smoker nutters, and I don't think you have that courage nor the willpower to look at the evidence objectively. Anti-smoker learned propaganda is too entrenched in your conditioned brain. Carl Sagan explains the phenomenon;
 “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”
Sad, but you are not alone!

Out of 144 comments apparently made on the Glantz fairy story,  I have today counted only 17 that have NOT been 'comment removed by moderator'.

ps.   This blog entry from 5 years ago (6) is very appropriate to this new money grab;

Update Nov 2016;
Anti-smoker nutters in California did indeed get away with this one using their tried and tested tactic of never taking 'no' for an answer, coming back again and again until they get what they want. Their coffers will again be stuffed with loads of money taken from smokers to squander on more propaganda to continue their war on the poor (not just smokers) - and to lobby for even more money. A little red flag has been hoisted however, for those who credulously think they can sit back and watch 'someone else' pay the bill.  Those who drink soda or vape have been targeted this time too, but who knows who else will be in the frame to be shaken down in the future.

Fortunately, three other not-so-greedy states rejected the money grab from smokers (Colorado: Missouri: North Dakota);

Ref; (7)

 Sin taxes are grossly regressive, yet so many Democrats in US and Socialists in UK still don't seem to understand that these taxes affect them the most. California has shown it is behind the curve somewhat, in terms of public opinion and the growing power of the silent majority - evident in the Brexit and Trump victories. The working classes and SMOKERS have shown that they have teeth and can bite pretty hard. Any politician who is stupid enough to have blind faith in anti-smoker nutters and thinks he/she can ignore smokers or others who have been sidelined/discriminated against by healthism ideology, will soon be consigned to history - or maybe sent to the dystopia that is California where they can live out their smoke-free, alcohol-free, sugar-free, red meat-free and freedom-free, cannabis enhanced, fantasy dreams.